...it's all political blackmail, Abudu-Balogun insists
A 16-year-old girl, Melojuekun Barakat Mayowa, has accused the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun of having sexual harassed her.
Mayowa, from Ogun Waterside Local Government who spoke in a viral video on Saturday, disclosed how the Commissioner had requested for her phone number at the NIMC registration center in Ibiade, through a teacher she identified as Mr Austin on December 29, 2020.
According to her, Austin got her phone number through another friend of hers, Lasisi Saheed (aka Mayor), adding that the said Austin called her to come and meet her at Ibiade park after registering for her National Identity Number.
She spoke: "When I was through with my NIN registration, I went home straight. Mr Austin called me at night to ask why I didn’t come to the park and I said I was in a hurry because I had something to do at home.
“On December 31, 2020, Mr Lasisi Mayor came to meet my daddy that someone needs a computer operator. He asked if I can operate a computer, I said yes and he told me to change my clothes that we were going to meet someone who needs a computer operator. He now took me to Hon Abudu-Balogun’s house in Ita Otu.
“Getting there, they said I should sit in the car. Later, a girl known as Mariam Eniola Oyenuga came to pick me to a living room. Mr Austin now came in to ask why I didn’t pick his call the other day. He later took me to a room inside Abudu-Balogun’s house,” Mayowa said.
She further explained how the Commissioner joined her in the room and started asking about who is financing her education, and fondling her breasts, after he offered to assist her financially, asking her to name how much she needed.
Said she: “When Abudu-Balogun came into the room, Mr Austin left immediately and Abudu-Balogun locked the door and put the key inside his pocket. He asked about my school and I said Victory Model College. He said how much is my school fee, I said N30,000. He asked who pays it and I said my daddy.
"He said don’t I want to start a business before going to school, I said I want to go to a higher institution. He said if I would need money now, how much would I need, I said any amount. He said I should state an amount, I said any amount.
“Hon Abudu-Balogun now moved closer to me and pressed my breast. I moved away from him. He said won’t I cooperate, and I replied by saying why will I cooperate. He now started pressing my breast, pressing my body and harassing me, something like that. Then, I was struggling to free myself from him to get freedom.
“He started reciting some incantations and wanted to place his hand on my head, I now moved away his hand and said nobody touches my head. He wanted to force me into his room, but I struggled with him and started shouting.
“Because there were people in his compound, he left me alone. He gave me four N500 notes for transport and I rejected it. He said he won’t let me go if I didn’t collect the money, so I collected it. He opened the door and told Mr Austin to take me to our house,” she said.
The Commissioner, Abudu-Balogun denied Mayowa's allegations, describing same as sheer political blackmail.
He said in a statement he personally signed on Saturday: “My attention has been drawn to a purported video circulating on social media of a girl alleging that I attempted to sexually harass her. Let it be noted that in my entire life and political career, I have assisted many youth to secure jobs, some are working with me in my different businesses.
“On this said day, the girl was brought to my house by one of my loyalists who is her uncle, to assist her get a job as a Computer Operator at the ICT Centre I facilitated while I was serving as a member of House of Representatives years back which has been moribund but I am about to rehabilitate in order to empower more youths in our local government.
“I met her at my sitting room for few minutes where many of my loyalists are, people that came to visit me for the New Year. I chatted with the lady for few minutes and as part of my usual gesture, I gave her some amount of money for her transportation.
"A day after, I was informed by some people that I have been alleged to have attempted to sexually harass the girl and I should invite the family for a meeting so as to settle the matter amicably. It was after my refusal to yield to their threats that they went ahead to make a teleguided video leading the lady on what to say to implicate me.
"This is purely a political blackmail by my adversaries. Let me state emphatically that I never attempted to sexually harass anyone. I therefore plead with my fans and loyalists to be calm and not engage anyone on the said matter as it is been handled by the Police and my legal team,” Abudu-Balogun said.